Chapter Thirteen: MemoriesA Chapter by Joshua Donahue
Forbidden. While trying to escape Hale, Evan must come to terms with his father's death and the inner turmoil it has caused him since six months ago.
BY: J O S H U A D O N A H U E
Boy, did my feet hurt. I must have walked at least 15 miles out of Hale, passing a mere six cars, three trucks, and one motorcycle. But who’s counting, right?
I just can’t believe Summer --
No, I wouldn’t think of that right now. The only thing I wanted focused in my mind’s eye was: get out of Hale. Pronto.
The sun beat down on the hot pavement of the long, narrow road that I walked along. The road itself was surrounded by woods and trees of different types, but unfortunately their canopies were not effective enough to slow down the sizzling sun. Though, I stayed on the left side of the road, facing traffic. I didn’t care if a car was coming my way; I just wanted to be in a place where nobody kept any secrets, told any lies, or ruined anyone else’s lives, all of which seemed to remain in Hale behind me. I had left the materialistic items that would slow me down back at Hale High, carrying only myself and my phone -- which was irritating me with constant text messages. It kept vibrating, receiving messages by the minute from Austin and the rest of my “normal” friends, along with my supernatural cousin, Luke. But I didn’t bother reading them because I knew they were all asking the same question: Where are you? It was pointless.
(Text message number twenty).
For a slight moment, I wondered if anyone besides my friends would be looking for me soon, seeing as how school was just now getting out. But I instantly pushed the thought to become the farthest thing from my mind. I needn’t care what everyone else was doing. After all, they were all delirious traitors who thought they could tell people lies and secrets. They were all playing some supernatural wolf game; but I had no intentions on being a player.
(Text message number twenty-one).
I walked and walked for what seemed like an endless amount of time. I had no clue what the name of the next town was or how far away it remained. I just knew that I had to get there before I passed out from dehydration or soreness in the feet.
(Text message number twenty-two).
I wanted to ask someone about the next town, but it wasn’t like there was some other teenage kid that was running away from his home that I could ask. I thought about hitching a ride from a car going by, but the creepy movies about long road trips that turn into a nightmare killing spree full of horrific screams and chilling suspense scenes, got to me. So I walked on despairingly.
(Text message number twenty-three).
“That’s it!” I screamed angrily to the world of nature around me. The constant vibrating of my cell phone had gotten on my nerves. I snatched it out from my pocket, and into the woods it went.
“Damn it all to hell!” I screamed to the ever-listening trees. I didn’t know if the phone smashed or not, but I didn’t care. Nothing mattered anymore.
Nothing, I repeated in my mind.
I wanted to keep my anger down to a minimum as much as possible, so I walked forever and a few yards until the exhaustion finally countered out the frustration. I decided to actually hitch a ride from someone. Too bad there wasn’t a vehicle in sight for miles. But even though the road did seem abandoned at times, I knew someone had to come cruising along and give me a ride eventually.
I walked on some more when I began to regret throwing my cell phone away because it was every teenager’s life. But I wasn’t going to look like a fool, scrounging around in the weeds in search for my phone, which I so happily threw there in the first place. No, I would walk on, not relinquishing my pride and dignity.
When a vehicle did finally approach some time later, my heart sank, as well as did my head. It was my mother. At first, I didn’t even know there was a car coming my way from behind, but when my ears detected the engine, I turned around, getting ready to point my thumb upwards so I could steal a ride. But instead of a stranger as I expected to see, I saw her, and boy did she look pissed. But that was unimportant to me, so I just turned back around in the direction I was headed in and walked on, like I hadn’t even seen her in the first place.
“Evan Woods! You get in this car this instant!” my mother practically screamed at me as her car came to a screeching halt, nearly proportional to my position on my side of the road.
I strolled on, ignoring her.
“Young man, I know you heard me! I said get in this car this very instant, or so help me God…”
I paid no attention. The words went in my right ear, but zoomed straight on through and out my left one, twirling around the trunks of the trees nearby.
“Evan, do you have any idea how worried to death I was? Had me searching everywhere for you, and here you are walking down the road alone, with God knows what in your mind! What were you thinking!?” She was exiting her vehicle now and crossing the road to my side, I noticed out the corner of my eye.
I stopped in my tracks. “What was I thinking? I was thinking how stupid the idea was to move to Hale in the first place! I was thinking how much I missed California! I was thinking how you make some of the sorriest decisions ever! I was thinking how my own mother works day and night at some stupid fish place rather than stay home with her kid! I was thinking how much I miss Dad and how I wish he were still alive! I was -- ”
I instantly felt a burning sensation across my right cheek, along with pain next in line behind it. It seared throughout my head, giving me a head rush, and more importantly, leaving my face stinging. She slapped me. She actually slapped me. That woman, my own mother, who has never touched me before, actually slapped the hell straight out of me.
Then small sniffles escaped her. She was…hugging me?
* * *
Somehow, I found myself sitting on my bed. I knew it was late in the evening, but that didn’t affect my decision to remain motionless. On our ride home from my “getaway”, my mother and I hadn’t said a word to each other, and that’s exactly how I wanted it to be. She didn’t even apologize for slapping me, but I think her tears and hug said it for her. Needless to say, her slap did hurt upon impact, but it had now subsided to a dull red mark that was barely even visible -- a quick healer, I noticed.
When we had gotten home, she told me to go to my room because she had to show me something. So I waited patiently on my bed while she retrieved something from her own room.
I sat and stared at my wall, staring off into space and thinking of everything and nothing simultaneously.
Moments later, my mother came in with a small, antique-looking box in her hands. She sat beside me on the bed, peering at her own hands that withheld the box.
“What is that?” I asked her, my throat still sore from the yelling I had done at her before.
She didn’t verbally respond. Instead, she laid the antique object in between us, and then she removed the lid.
I couldn’t help but to steal a glance inside the box; within it, I noticed some photographs and a few newspaper clippings among other things.
Instantly, I drew in a sharp take of breath because I knew what those objects were. I wanted to get up, throw them out the window, and just run. But my legs wouldn’t move. I wouldn’t move. I wanted to look in another direction, at least, but my eyes ignored my feeble commands. I felt my hands tremble and my heart slow down almost completely.
“Here…” my mother said while removing a small card.
I barely grasped the alien item as she handed it to me. Then I looked at the cover of it and saw the picture and his glorious signature. It was the baseball card of Ty Cobb that I had given my father for his birthday. She had not sold it after all like I had previously thought. Out of all the baseball cards that my dad had owned, my mother had sold every one of them except Ty Cobb’s -- except mine and my father’s. This was our card.
My vision began to become subtly blurry as a small amount of liquid began to form in them.
I internally screamed at my legs to move my body so I could flee. I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to do this. Not now. I had too much going on in my life. I just couldn’t handle the pain that I had locked up inside perfectly. I thought I had buried the key to that cage long ago.
But my insides kicked and tumbled with one another as the cage slowly began to crumble away from old age and rust.
“Sweetie…” my mother said with tears already flowing from her eyes.
I looked away. I wasn’t crying, and I wasn’t going to. The liquid in my eyes was just the humidity of the room. That’s all.
She hadn’t just handed me a simple card. She had just given me a bowl of memories that were oozing over the rim.
I began to allow my thoughts to dwell on the past too long as one particular memory plowed into me unexpectedly.
♦ ♦ ♦
The sky was a perfect shade of blue with white, fluffy clouds flowing delicately in the sea above. I was wearing an average pair of jeans with a simple t-shirt while walking beside my best friend, Adam, down the sidewalk. We were on our way home from skateboarding down at the Alley. It was every teenager’s favorite hangout spot where we would group together, skate, talk, and just waste the day away.
Then Adam and I came to the usual spot where we would depart. At the street crossing, he would go left and I would continue forward to my house alone. We said our usual goodbyes to each other, promising to see one another at a later time.
I checked both ways down the street to ensure I could skateboard across safely as I typically did. So I quickly hopped on my board and pushed myself forward. I looked up just to see our townhouse and to ensure it was still standing. It was my usual habit, I guess; I would always look just to make sure I could still see it as perfect as day. Except, when I glanced at it this time, I noticed two police cruisers in our driveway.
At that particular moment, the world seemed to come to an instant stop. I saw two men who were dressed in their police uniforms with shiny badges on their chests. They were facing my mother who seemed so weak in the knees, tears not being able to come out fast enough. I saw her shuddering, bawling into her own hands while she grasped tightly onto an orange cap. I recognized it straight away. It was my father’s hat he had worn to work everyday.
I couldn’t feel anything, then because I knew what had happened. I knew why the police officers were at our house, why they had my father’s hat, and why my mother was crying. I just knew. He was gone.
I couldn’t feel my heart stop. I couldn’t feel my lungs no longer contracting. I couldn’t even feel the wind rushing against me as I was free skating on my board across the street.
I didn’t feel the impact when the car seemed to come out of nowhere and hit me dead-on. I didn’t feel as my body went flying through the air or when I hit the concrete ground with a thud. But I heard it. I heard it all, but I chose to ignore it.
I even heard my mother as she cried out my name loudly down the street from our townhouse. I heard the pain in her voice as she screamed as if she felt like she was going to lose both her husband and her son in the same day…
Several days later, I remember waking up in the hospital. My eyes wobbled open sluggishly; it took a few minutes for me to fully adapt to the lighting of the room. But once I did, I realized my mother was beside my hospital bed, looking at me with a weak smile.
“What -- ?” I began.
“What do you remember?” she asked me.
I started thinking back to when I had been hit. Then everything rushed upon me in an instant with hardly any thought.
He’s gone, I thought.
I had looked away to stare at nothing in order to let it sink in.
I think my mother knew I knew because she didn’t say anything more.
But after minutes of mere sniffling from my mother, she finally spoke. “He…” She paused for a moment and wiped her nose and ruined mascara. Then she continued: “He was directing Brad as he -- moved some heavy duty metal with -- the crane. He had done it so many times that he didn’t bother keeping his distance. He was right under the -- metal when…when…the wire broke and…and it fell down on…”
She didn’t finish her statement because tears and pain had consumed her just thinking about it. And I didn’t want her to finish. I didn’t need to hear how my father left this world.
I continued looking at the blank wall for a moment more, and then I faced the ceiling. I was keeping my head held high because no tear would escape me. He was gone and there was no use in crying.
♦ ♦ ♦
I yanked myself out of the past, realizing cold droplets were drizzling down my face. I felt humiliated that I had let myself go, that I had succumbed to the pain. I was so weak, so vulnerable. I felt like the mere smoke essence of a soul that lay withering in the palm of the Devil’s hands. I was finally his captive after six months of effortless attempts to claim me. I was his servant, and he was my master. He could make me feel whatever he wanted, and there was nothing I could do about it. He was my emotions.
I remained motionless on my bed, recalling the memory. It continued to play repeatedly in my mind as if it was a broken compact disc that was stuck on repeat. I tried effortlessly to stop the memory from replaying itself. I desperately tried to stop the images from flashing in my head, but to no avail. It finally had me.
My breath quickened its pace and my eyes fluttered. I felt like a small fish floating in the middle of a fishbowl, wanting nothing more than to escape the confinement of the glass and reach the ocean.
Still facing away from my mother, I let it all come out finally -- the tears, the shivering, the numbness, the memories, the feelings, and the agony. I couldn’t hold it anymore. It was all six months worth of emotions that had slowly built up to its climatic peak.
“WHY!?” I shouted so loudly that I thought I had scared my mother from my sudden outburst. But I took no notice.
“Why!?” I repeated. “Why did he go and get himself killed? Why did he leave? Why did he leave us? Why did he leave me damn it?” I pretended my mother wasn’t even in the room as I thought out loud with so many questions in my head with no answers.
My mother allowed more tears to escape her as she said, “I -- I don’t know, Evan. He just did. But your father -- was a great man. He didn’t leave willingly, I can assure you.” She was sobbing pitifully now, but we were both in the same boat of emotions all because she had opened that stupid box.
I leapt up from the bed, throwing my lamp into a nearby wall and allowing it to shatter to bits, giving off a piercing outburst of noise. “Well it sure as hell doesn’t feel that way.” My emotions had transformed from sorrow and misery to a pure, monstrous form of anger at my father for not staying.
Why did he leave me? Why didn’t he fight like hell to stay? I asked myself.
I made my way over to my window, looking out at Hale. I wanted to let my frustration out terribly, but I had to control my self. With that, I heaved in and out while staring at the poor village. I wanted to shatter the glass in front of me, but I refrained with a tremendous amount of effort.
“Evan,” my mother said.
I paid her no attention. How could he abandon me? How could he leave me here?
I kept repeating the questions over in my head as if it was all I knew. It was the only question I wanted to be answered for me. I didn’t want my dad to be with me -- I needed him to be. But silently wishing wasn’t going to get me far.
I peered into the glass window once again, watching my own transparent reflection. I saw myself and what an angry front I put on. Of course, it was for show. But it was for my show. I made the rules. At least, I did. But apparently, there was a higher power that had even greater rules that allowed my father to be removed from my life.
“Evan,” she said again. “Evan, look at me damn it!”
I had never heard my mother curse, so I was taken aback at first, blinking several times out the window in order to rope my bull-self back in. However, with cold tears that had now become hot droplets beginning to float freely down my face, I slowly revolved to face her.
“Your father would have chosen to stay with us. To stay with you. You have to know that. He loved you, Evan. More than you know. You were his only son, and he was so proud of you. Imagine what he would say if he was here right now.”
She was right, of course.
With her words, my brick walls that had surrounded me so willingly, had suddenly transformed into confetti, leaving me bare and naked for the world to see.
“But it’s just so damn hard!” I had finally entered my cage filled with creatures of emotions. I had to face these beings, I knew.
“I know. I miss him too,” she told me, removing herself from my bed and walking over to hug me tightly.
A part of me wanted to pull away from her and allow my rage to take control. But the fury seemed pointless now, even though it remained nearby so it could return if called.
“I just don’t know what to do anymore. I miss him so badly. I’m surprised I’ve made it this far,” I said quite frankly. The words I spoke were a complete betrayal to my anger. They had come from my cage of emotions, which my anger tried so desperately to keep incarcerated.
My mother was still hugging me tightly because it was what I needed. I felt like a small kid clutching onto his mother after he received a bruise from playing too rough.
“You know, I always wondered when you were gonna breakdown,” she said.
“It’s just too…”
“Painful, I know. But we’ll get through this, Evan. We’ve gotten through everything else, haven’t we? We’ve made it this far. It just takes time.”
Her reassuring words were working on me to the point that I began to sob on her shoulder. I couldn’t hold it any longer. The emotion was now officially released, pushing my anger out of sight and mind effortlessly.
And for the first time since his death, I finally cried over my father’s absence. The tears were representations of my heart and the longing within. It felt like the world was slowly being lifted from my shoulders. All of the emotion was now pouring through my eyes, as they were the fish from my own fish bowl, and finally reaching their own ocean.
After a moment of leaking, my mother broke our embrace and moved over to the bed as she said, “Come here. I have to tell you something.”
I slowly wiped away the droplets as I made my way to sit beside her once again.
I stared at her, my mind being like a blank slate as I was drained of tears.
“Evan, have you ever wondered why you’ve never met your family? Why we never visited for holidays? Why we never wrote or talked on the phone? Or why you never even knew they existed?”
“Well, that’s because your father and I -- Evan, you must understand that we were young and dumb. We didn’t know what we were doing and I never want you to do the same thing.”
I acknowledged I was paying close attention.
“Back when we were your age -- teenagers -- your father told me what he was. A werewolf.” She began searching my eyes for any kind of reaction.
I suppose she had seen my surprise that she knew the secret too, because she quickly said, “It’s okay. I know what Otis and them told you. I know everything. I’ve been known.”
I resumed my normal state in order for her to proceed.
“After he told me about his heritage, I was shocked, of course. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t love him any less. He was still Samuel Woods, and no matter what he could transform into, I knew I wanted to be with him. But…” Her eyes began to cloud once again. I felt her pain.
“But?” I urged hoarsely from all the sobbing I had done myself.
“But his family didn’t approve of me. I’m human, but they still said I wasn’t right for him because I was friends with one of the nymphs, even though I didn’t know what she was until Sam told me. But Sam -- Sam wanted out. He didn’t want to be a werewolf anymore. He thought it was cool at first, but he realized the danger of it and decided to escape. So we both left. We ran away and got married.”
She searched my eyes again for any kind of reaction, but I gave none this time. I merely continued listening intently.
“A month or so after we were married, I discovered that I was pregnant with you. It was perfect timing, because we were just beginning to decide to return home. Life on the road was hard, especially considering our age. But after I told Sam that I was pregnant, he knew what it meant for you. He knew that you would become a werewolf too if we went back. And he didn’t want that for you, Evan. He wanted you to have a normal life, without all of the supernatural stuff.
“We were in Vegas at the time, still enjoying our marriage. So, after I made a few calls to some of my old friends, I found out one of them lived in San Francisco. She said we would love it out there and we should come. So we did. Eventually Sam got a job, and so did I. We stayed with my friend until we were able to afford our own place.”
Small tears of joy began to run from my eyes. No longer did I feel the abandonment I had previously. I wasn’t angry with my father at all. He wanted the best for me. He wanted me to be normal, sparing me from all the anguish the supernatural has caused so far. He always had me in his thoughts. He was my dad.
I gave a small mental smile.
Then she said, “And that’s why I was scared to return to Hale. I knew what would happen, and I know Sam didn’t want that. But he didn’t think of what would happen if he…left. But it’s what you needed. There was no one in San Francisco for you, except for me. And I was scared that I wasn’t enough. I knew my work would be too much, leaving you all alone. And here in Hale, I needed to give you space so you could be introduced to the supernatural stuff on your own. That’s why I’ve been working those long hours at the restaurant, so you can deal with this on your own.
“And I’m sorry I wasn’t there when Otis told you, Evan. I wanted to be there, but Otis said it would be best if you went through it alone. And since I don’t have much experience in the paranormal stuff, I left it to him.”
I wasn’t angry at Otis for not allowing my mother to be there with me. I probably would have made the same decision. But I was happy that my mom had told me everything that she did. It meant a lot to me. And it helped me deal with my father’s death more than I could have by myself.
“You’re welcome, sweetie.”
Then, with both of our eyes red from all the tears, we gave each other a hug. It wasn’t just any hug, however. It was the hug that signified our love for one another.
Then I released myself from her embrace. “Okay. Enough of the mushy gushy stuff, mom. I’m okay now.”
“I knew I wouldn’t have you so emotional for long. Just like your father.” She smiled at me.
“Thanks. But I am really tired and wanna get some sleep,” I told her.
“I get it, I get it,” she said, standing in my bedroom doorway now. “But I want this mess cleaned up.”
I nodded in agreement.
“Goodnight,” she said.
Then she was gone, leaving the box behind on my bed.
I began plundering through the remaining objects of the box in memoriam of my father.
No longer was I thinking back on painful memories that wretched at my heart. Instead, it was the good times, the times that made up the relationship between my father and me that I recalled.
♦ ♦ ♦
I was on my way home from another long day at the mall. The past few days had been pretty hectic, considering my father’s birthday was just around the corner. I had no clue what to get him. He had practically every baseball card ever printed, except the real expensive ones, but I had a small budget.
I was strolling down the sidewalk as the day in San Francisco rolled on. My mind was thinking of ideas, but shooting them down quickly with answers like “out of the question” or “no, he wouldn’t like that” or any other kind of phrase that declined a poor thought.
I was hopeless.
I continued walking a little ways, passing by Jim’s Card Collection. Jim was a nice guy. He was real good friends with me and my dad. Whenever my father got a new card, Jim would be the first to hear about it (besides me, of course).
I let out a sigh.
After walking for about another twenty minutes or so, I came across a crowd of vehicles at a home. There was a big U-Haul truck loading heavy duty objects from inside while an elderly woman sat behind tables of items. It was a garage sale, I noticed.
I decided to cross the street, so I could get a look at what she had. I didn’t think much of it, just that I had nothing else better to do. Besides, I figured some of her items might end up giving me an idea on what to get my dad.
There were several people already browsing through her items and more were showing up by the minute, so I decided to hurry before a crowd formed around everything.
I looked around and saw useless things to me such as furniture, lamps, dishes, and clothing.
While plundering through some vintage magazines and posters, however, a small card-looking object floated out onto the ground. I quickly picked it up and examined it.
I let out a small gasp. It was a Ty Cobb baseball card from 1914 with his signature on it. At first, I thought it was a fake, but after a closer inspection, my thoughts faltered.
“Excuse me, how much is this?” I asked the older lady.
“A quarter,” she said simply.
I thought about replacing the card back to where I had found it, because if it was worth anything, then she probably wouldn’t have had it out for sale at the price of a quarter.
But it did fall out of a magazine, so it probably wasn’t placed there intentionally.
Against my better judgments, I ended up giving her a quarter as she was telling another person why she was selling her stuff. I remember her saying something about her husband’s death and she was moving back out East or something.
After leaving the garage sale, I decided to go to Jim’s place and ask him about the card -- I had to know if it was real or not. Although, I guessed my chances of it being real were a million to one.
Jim ended up concluding that the card was in fact real and the signature on it was made by a human person, instead of just printed, making it all the more valuable. The estimation on the card was about two grand.
I assumed Jim was going to ask me if I wanted to put it up for sale, but after I told him what I was going to do with it, he didn’t.
Because I knew I had found the perfect birthday gift for my dad.
Two days later, when my father opened up the small box with the baseball card in it and the estimation ticket inside, I thought he was going to have a heart attack. He stared at the estimation for a moment, eyes wide and in shock. Then he glanced up at me as I sat on the couch, looking at him for a reaction. Then he looked at the number again, then back at me. He repeated the process two more times before an extravagantly huge smile spread across his face.
He dropped the ticket as he dashed over to hug me, but he stopped himself.
“I bet you’re getting too old for hugs, huh? How about a handshake then?” He extended his arm to me.
I shook it, but I also gave him a fatherly hug, nevertheless.
As he thanked me at least a thousand times, all I could do was simply say “Dad!” with emphasis on it. I wanted him to know it was my pleasure and he didn’t need to thank me so much.
If he was happy, then I was happy.
But I knew that I would never forget his jovial smile that day.
♦ ♦ ♦
As I rubbed my thumb across the texture of the baseball card softly, I allowed a smile to play its way on my lips. I knew I would miss my dad, no matter what. But just thinking of that day made it easier. It made me feel as if he were still with me in some way. I still needed to find the strength to keep going.
I placed the card on my nightstand, allowing it to face my bed as I placed the box of memories beside it. Then I walked over to where I had broken my lamp and began to pick up the pieces that were left behind.
© 2010 Joshua Donahue
AboutUPDATE! 04.11.13 Oh, how I have missed writing deeply. I always plan to return to this site ASAP, but it just never happens. I have not been inspired really. But I want to be inspired again. I wa.. more..
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